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Everything posted by CrowEpistemologist

  1. LOL. Dude, you need to get out more. That's all I'm saying...
  2. In the context of the present-day USA, for instance, that cop is operating under the laws of the USA. He can break the law etc. but there's a fair chance he'll get caught. This will provide quite a deterrent, and a recourse to somebody who falls to their injustice. In ancient Iceland--possibly for instance--that "cop" is part of your neighbor's private army, and your neighbor doesn't like you because you play your Bjork music too loud and it doesn't rhyme for godsakes. So his "cops" beat the crap out of your whenever they feel like it and your only recourse is to go to the "court system"--which is also funded by your neighbor. Your neighbor has a "little power", and corrupt it most absolutely does. Only when there's a central government with an absolutely monopoly on the use of force does any society stand a chance of being just and realistically holding together for any length of time. The arguments for anarchism and anarcho-capitalism and aracho-whateverthehell are just mental masturbation. They could never work and they couldn't even be tried anywhere in the modern world for more than a few nanoseconds before they'd instantly self-destruct.
  3. "In the last 20 years autism rates have skyrocketed just like vax rates, so obviously its because of the vaxes". -- Pornstar & Medical Expert Jenny McCarthy "Gun registration rates in IL have increased and the crime rate has decreased, so obviously its because of the guns" -- Doctor and Gun Nut Paul Hsieh I guess moronic unreason is okay if its in aide of a popular Republican dog-whistle cause though, right?
  4. Here you go: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Insurance
  5. Well, to clarify, the poster in the other thread wasn't merely asserting that "the rich" got their money honestly and through hard work, but rather he asserted that the mere fact of their wealth is such a general benefit to society that they should not have to pay a corresponding amount of fees to protect their greater wealth and property. The answer is not a simple value or even a simple formula--it depends on the context. I'm not sure this is a good question to ask in any case (i.e. what good would the answer do you?).
  6. Sure. I guess I made two points. First, the poster was citing articles which talked glowingly about ancient civilizations that we clearly know very little about, and we certainly wouldn't know the details about. It's a total guess to reckon that, for instance, the rights of minorities were respected in these cultures, or that justice was carried out in any sort of consistent way. All we really know is that the given (small-scale) civilization survived--but then again so did the ones run by the Pharaohs. Combine that with a truism we've come to learn about human nature, and one Ayn Rand--among countless others--chronicled in fiction: that power tends to corrupt. That people with access to power over the lives of others tend to gain and use that power to enslave others in some form or another. It's not consistent with this historical knowledge to imagine that there existed an entire society full of people who could each gain power over others if they felt like it, but consistently, perfectly, didn't feel like it. Of course, this is overkill on these so-called examples: they were isolated societies and did not have to provide for a common defense. That will never again happen in the future history of mankind. Bad people who want to cheat and rob and kill exist and always will. Bad countries who want to kill us exist and always will. The police, courts, and military are necessary and always will be. Tell me how we make a tax-free society in that context because any other context is fantasy land.
  7. Are we seriously going to talk about insurance in this thread? Seriously?
  8. If I don't pay for guards, they don't come, and they don't give me protection. I don't force others to pay for my private guards, and my private guards don't protect anybody else (unless they pay as well, etc.).
  9. From the Wikipedia article on the Iceland-anarchy argument: "No military was necessary in Iceland due to the geographic isolation...". and "In the medieval Icelandic justice system, criminals were not incarcerated. The Icelandish anarchists instead fined criminals, with reparations going to the victim of the crime instead of the government.[citation needed] When the victim of the crime was uncertain, the court would decide who the fine was paid to. If the criminal was unable to pay the fine, she would be able to pay off her sentence with slavery. If she refused to pay and work, she was outlawed. Even those who killed during war had to pay fines, and as such wars were limited to family feuds or battles, usually lasting only a few days." So yeah, the anarcho-capitalism stuff. They point to ancient Iceland among other "free" societies which by medieval standards were very "free". Whatever you do don't read the fine print. Don't allow yourself to integrate your knowledge of these ancient isolated societies with everything we know about the modern world and, oh I don't know, every single other historical society that's ever existed. Don't integrate your knowledge of how tribal leaderships were not exactly transparent organizations subject to disclosure laws, but rather power tends to corrupt and its virtually certain we don't have historical records of every injustice perpetrated by the local warlords. In the system above the courts were private (owned by whom?). Enough said. There are plenty of threads here about anarchy/"anarcho-capitalism" and I doubt its worth re-hashing it all here, so I'll stipulate this: if you firmly believe that anarcho-capitalism could work, well, that's certainly an argument against compelled taxation...
  10. You put quotes around that but I didn't actually say that. Nor did I imply it. As a matter of fact, that statement is nonsensical if you try to actually interpret it at face value...
  11. Many of them I talk to are, in fact, living on another planet, yes. This philosophy like many others sometimes draws a certain kind of personality that craves perceived persecution and is chosed because its an outlier, and an isolating social force. But okay, fine, I'll go play on your planet for a while. Before you eliminate the US constitution, you need an alternative. One that works. One that we're pretty darn sure will work based on everything we know about how humans have behaved over the last N centuries. I and others have repeatedly asked for some kind of evidence of a voluntary social scheme that really worked in history. And I'll repeat that, insofar as we cannot come up with a clear alternative-and insofar that there's lots of evidence to the contrary--then advocating a different system is immoral. Immoral even on the epistemological level, since you are willfully throwing away reason and substituting feelings (hopes and dreams) for cognition. Your focusing your attention on issues that don't matter, and will never matter, and taking away from issues that do. But here's paradox for you: everybody hates paying their taxes. Everybody. Any politician that promises them they won't have to will get votes. Any intellectual who supports that politician will gain prominence. Paul Ryan makes his staff read Ayn Rand. He'd probably also make them read, "The Anti-Tax Martian Cult Bible" if there was one. So the interpretation of Ayn Rand being anti-tax is oh-so-convenient from a populist standpoint. But it's... popular! Eeek! Run away!
  12. Yes, I know about that position. I just missed the quote where Ayn Rand summarily said that taxes were immoral (esp. when she floated the idea of "tax stamps" etc.). You aren't extrapolating what she said using your own interpretation are you?
  13. Exactly. It's everybody and their lobbyists who are the primary drivers of our system...
  14. Where exactly in the Objectivist literature does it say, explicitly, that taxes as such are immoral? I certainly don't recall Ayn Rand ever come out with anything so explicit. Maybe LP or others have. Regardless, if they did, it would be wrong in any case... Moreover, the entire notion that a vast, generalized judgement of the predicted future actions of Men should be an "objectively proven fact" is also... bad epistemology...
  15. I would submit that corruption within that system is most of the problem. It's not that we tax in some reasonable and rational way, its that we tax and spend in capricious ways established by petty corrupt influences e.g. lobbyists and so forth. Of course laws themselves can be corrupt, and there can even be a dictatorship, etc. taken to its logical (and historically common) extreme. The point of the OP's link was exactly that: that petty corruption leads to dictatorships. Now I'm offering Objectivism as a cure for corruption, or at least a primary tool to fight it. Here's to hoping that will happen in the future, and the future of history is different than its present and past.
  16. Ah yes, we know that fact a priori and before... facts. And it's not a floating abstraction. ... :-) Technically, as an implementation detail of a political system, taxes are neither moral or immoral. War is like that too. One wouldn't call war "immoral" per se although certainly a particular context could make it so. Yes, the popular Objectivist promise of "no taxes" falls by the wayside, but that was always an false promise, and one that lead people on the wrong epistemological track, as near as I can tell... *** Now, what would have been immoral (or maybe, just a bummer) would be for the Founding Fathers to have taken the above advice and accepted the above critiques,, not levied taxes and thus inevitably disintegrated, and for there to have been no USA... There are bad people in the world who want to rob and kill. Not a majority and not even a lot, but they exist and always have. I submit they always will, and clearly the FF's thought so too (and so far they were right). Insofar as bad people exist in the world, your Rights are not "automatic" in the sense that an utter absence of action on your part will leave you with practicable Rights--they will be violated instantly. Pacifists only have Rights in their own heads--their physical life is that of a slave. Insofar as a government is a necessary component to secure actual, practicable Rights, and insofar as a government is not "free", then somebody has to pay for it. Therefore the only logically valid conclusions are: 1. That there exists some "voluntary" scheme which would work at scale and wouldn't violate anybody's rights. 2. We must have compelled taxes that correspond to each citizen's usage of government resources. I haven't seen an argument for #1. I can't even start to imagine one. Nobody has ever thought of one, and it certainly has never been tried anywhere. As such, we must accept #2 as a metaphysical fact of our existence. Ben Franklin was right.
  17. So some brute who just wants money/power/sex is doing it... for philosophical reasons? Because he's carefully considered his moral code, and it's come out in favor of... debauchery? Visit a skid row police station some time and hang out there for a few hours. Tell me what you see. Ask the compelled visitors there about their philosophy of life. Let me know what they say. :-)
  18. "I want to see, real, living, and in the hours of my own days, that glory I create as an illusion. I want it real. I want to know that there is someone, somewhere, who wants it, too. Or else what is the use of seeing it, and working, and burning oneself for an impossible vision?" -- Ayn Rand / Anthem So here we are, defending... taxes... Not exactly a populist sentiment. Not exactly something that is going to help politicians get elected. So what now then? Surely all of this reason and reality should be useful for something, shouldn't it? In a post-tax universe, where do we turn our guns?
  19. You're over-analyzing this. Corruption is somebody becoming a cop so they can legally rob a store owner. Or a judge who throws a case one way or another based on an envelope full of cash. Or somebody who cannot go to the police after being attacked by XYZ because the police are being paid off by XYZ. And as the OP's link (anybody viewed it yet?) demonstrates, it's not the corruption itself that causes shifts of history, it's often the reaction to the corruption. In other words, after a population has had it up to here with petty cleptocrats, they look for a solution--and that solution is a dictatorship in some (ideologically rationalized) form or another. The behavior in question here is pure criminal behavior, which has been shunned for thousands of years by virtually all organized religions. Oh, and immorality is not "caused by bad philosophy". Totally orthogonal. Immorality is caused by humans deciding to be immoral.
  20. Absolutely, and I guess I didn't put that link (which clearly nobody here followed) in my OP prominently enough. That establishes the context and also saves me a lot of time do so. But... this world we live in... okay... I'd define a state of corruption in this context as the situation where basic justice for an individual is indeterminate. They may live within a system that gives them certain rights based on certain basic social rules (note I am talking way pre-Rights, and pre-Liberty here) and that established system is changed--corrupted--but the actions of certain men. And yes, in that context, the prevailing philosophy is somewhat beside the point since corruption is an attack on a system that was established under varying semblances of reason. And corruption is a capricious attack since the overt State in question--insofar as it is a viable, recognized State--has its rules which most people follow. So no, I'm not talking about a citizen of a "corrupt system"--and for that matter a "corrupt system" is an anti-concept in this context: one calls a political system "corrupt" when we notice a lot of corruption occurring within it. But it isn't always a matter of the actual written laws of the system being the driver of that corruption.
  21. Surely they effect it. But determine it completely? No, of course not. The political environment you happen to have been born into is far more decisive than anything you might happen to believe in.
  22. If someone is unaware of Christianity (as opposed to, say, being indoctrinated by it), does that diminish its effect on his life? Equivocate much?
  23. I suppose any sequence of words could be construed as, "treading into philosophical waters" since everything we think or do falls under its analysis. That's not particularly meaningful, however. But if I were to add a more specific meaning to your question, I would answer, in short, that we're "Not Aquinus's Angel"--the humans do not automatically discover the implications of their basic premises immediately or even at all sometimes. We have vast populations of deeply religious people in the world who have built entire nations based on principles that contradict their own religion's teachings, and we of course have examples of the opposite. Thus its not the philosophy that is the active ingredient, but rather other ingredient(s).
  24. See: http://thedailyshow.cc.com/extended-interviews/b6364d/sarah-chayes-extended-interview In a couple of other threads where we have discussed taxation and terrorism, a recurring topic is the one revolving around the drivers of history (which in turn gives us insight into the future). Does religion create terrorism, or do terrorists (with other motives) use religion as a tool? Or a combination of both? I suggested that looking through the lens of philosophy is not actually very helpful, despite Ayn Rand's obvious bias in this regard. I instead suggested we look corruption as the driver of history (particularly modern-day history). A few days ago I watched the linked interview here from an author that clearly knows the Middle East extremely well. She explains the rise of terrorism (and terrorist regimes like Isis) better than I've ever seen anybody do so: she shows how corruption leads directly to terrorism. I have also said that reason is the cure--the only cure--for political corruption. I have always maintained that we Objectivists should be the guardians of reason and reality--making sure people know that facts are the basis of a better life and a more fair and effective government. it's our job to fight populism, and to stamp out superstition and other epistemological games corrupt power-brokers play to ply their trade. As an example, I have personally switched my own "political party bias" from Republican to Democrat in the last 20 years because I now see the former as the party of populism, blatant institutionalized (and celebrated) stupidity and unreason (and to be clear, it's a bias not an absolute sort of thing--and I bring up this point up only as an example). I see corruption as our enemy, not "taxes" or "regulations" per se (although both can be the fruits corruption). If we don't defend reason, nobody will. It should be our top priority.
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